Renault Formula 1 driver Daniel Ricciardo says rival team McLaren currently has “the kind of package that we’re looking for”.
Renault hoped its French GP update package would leave the RS19 as the clear fourth-fastest car in F1, but this has not materialised, and its showing at the Red Bull Ring – with both cars outside the top 10 – left Ricciardo suspecting a “fundamental” problem with the car.
In the meantime, Renault’s only engine customer, McLaren – which ended the previous season two places and 60 points behind Renault – finished with both cars in the points in Austria, and has begun to pull a gap in the standings over its fellow midfield competitors.
“I mean, looking at the McLarens, they’re certainly the benchmark now and they’ve really come on, and they’re the ones with that kind of package that we’re looking for,” Ricciardo said.
“Looking at it, they’re able to run more downforce and more efficiently, so they can run higher downforce, yet lose less in the straights.
“So it seems like our package itself, when we do run more [downforce], we don’t seem to be able to use it well, so that’s something.
“Whether that goes back to correlation in the wind tunnel, all these things, I guess all that’s going to be addressed.
“But, absolutely, something isn’t adding up, and I know the team has invested a lot, and I guess the value for money is not coming yet.”
Ricciardo, however, reckoned both his team and other midfield outfits can benefit from McLaren’s recent form.
“They’re very fast at the moment,” Ricciardo said.
“And part of me is actually happy that they are pushing the midfield forward. “I think it’s going to force us to get a bit more out of ourselves.
“Obviously I’m not happy being beaten, but I think it’s going to push us to a better level, so that’s our target now and we need to find a way to catch them.”
Asked by Autosport whether it was better or worse to be sharing the same engine as McLaren, Ricciardo said: “Probably better. Because it doesn’t leave us any excuses.
“It shows that there is room to improve on the chassis, and the package.
“It’s probably better for everyone working for some accountability. It proves it can be better, so we can find a way.”